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Bill Would Cut Back on Standardized Tests

Rune Mathisen/Texas Tribune

Texas high school students would have to take just five standardized tests to graduate instead of 15, under a bill filed today in the Texas House. State Rep. Jimmie Don Aycock,  R-Killeen, says House Bill 5 would give students more flexibility to pursue vocational careers.

“Hoping that stimulates kids to find the areas that they find interesting and challenging in life, and that they begin to choose areas they want to go into, not necessarily areas the state’s trying to press them into,” Aycock said.

All 11 members of the House Committee on Public Education have endorsed the bill. The Austin Chamber of Commerce says it supports having fewer standardized tests and giving students more pathways to pursue vocations, but the Chamber’s Drew Scheberle says House Bill 5 goes too far in reducing academic standards.

“The assessment portion of Representative Aycock’s bill is going to hurt students,” Scheberle said. “It’s going to increase remediation. It’s going to reduce postsecondary success and reduce the number of students who are ready for the high-performance workplace.”

Meanwhile, a separate bill on testing passed the Texas Senate today. It would let individual school districts decide how much of the state’s end-of-course exam should count toward a final grade. The bill now goes to the House for debate.

Nathan Bernier is the transportation reporter at KUT. He covers the big projects that are reshaping how we get around Austin, like the I-35 overhaul, the airport's rapid growth and the multibillion dollar transit expansion Project Connect. He also focuses on the daily changes that affect how we walk, bike and drive around the city. Got a tip? Email him at Follow him on Twitter @KUTnathan.